Vegas Bright readers Vicki and Barry share their “Vegas Musts.”
Las Vegas is always changing. My first trip to Las Vegas was in 1980. I had walked down Fremont Street before cars were banned. I drove down the strip past all the classic casinos with their marquee’s out front announcing who was playing in the showroom. Jump to 2003 and I stayed at the Luxor and actually saw the King Tut exhibit. I saw the lions in the habitat at MGM. I played craps in Central Park at NYNY. My biggest ever win at craps was at the Aladdin. I spent those winnings on a new watch at a shop in Desert Passage. My wife and I went downtown to get our marriage license at 9.30pm. I remember when the Cosmopolitan was the parking lot for the Jockey Club. It could go on and on, but that’s Las Vegas, always changing. I’ll go with the flow but you can always find a way to keep your “must have’s” in an ever-changing Vegas and even discover new ones.
1. Every trip begins with the ride from McCarran. It used to be the Showtime shuttle for us. I have always said that the ride from McCarran is the best thing about any trip to Las Vegas. At that point, every good time and every big win are in your future. The ride down Swenson Street past all the billboards to make that left hand turn onto Tropicana Blvd. and down to the strip fills you with all the excitement Vegas has to offer. That is until you start to realize just how many stops your shuttle needs to make before you’re dropped off. Now, it’s a taxi both ways, BUT it’s always the same route. I don’t care what the taxi driver says. I’ll change my mode of transport, but I won’t give up my route. Choose the ride you want from McCarran and make it a “must have.”
2. Try the frozen drinks and find your favorite. Mine used to be Coyote Ugly’s, but it just hasn’t been the same since Big Chill took it over. Now, my frozen drinks stops are Fat Tuesday’s (all over) and Dick’s (Excalibur).
Grab an extra shot and get into that Vegas mood in a hurry. I needed to adjust my “must have” of checking in or dropping the bags off at the bell hop and making a beeline to Coyote Ugly’s but the tradition of the first drink being a frozen drink is still alive and well.
3. Breakfast at Pyramid Cafe at Luxor. If you haven’t been to Pyramid Cafe, then I would suggest you make the effort even though you may not base yourself at that end of the strip. The food and service you receive are impeccable. My wife and I have breakfast at the Pyramid Cafe once every trip, and that is the first morning after arrival. We always order the same thing. My wife gets her ham and cheese omelette with hash browns, and I order the All American breakfast with turkey sausage. Your order comes with the most delicious toast you’ll ever eat. That’s right; toast sounds like such a simple thing, but that is what makes Pyramid Cafe stand out above the rest. Simple things done well. Who can screw up breakfast? Well, believe me, a lot of places can. You’ll leave Pyramid Cafe with the thought “that was a GREAT breakfast.” Request a booth seat and enjoy.
4. And Lastly, a trip to Vegas is not complete until you visit where it all began, Downtown. I know it’s a different experience then partying at Planet Hollywood, but that’s the point. There is nothing like the one big party you experience when you first walk onto Fremont Street after walking from the bus stop. Don’t have too many expectations and just enjoy the atmosphere. Once you see a full Fremont Experience show, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it sooner. Visit the original poker room at Binions and look at the photos on the wall, play some table games at the Golden Nugget and imagine yourself back in the wild west days when Las Vegas was a lonely outpost for die-hard gamblers. Visit the Mob Museum and get your “Bugsy” on. Top it off with a late night brekkie (Australian slang for breakfast) at Peppermill. My wife and I did that this past August and it is now a new “must have” after a night downtown.
See, Las Vegas is indeed always changing; even your “must have’s” must change.
[Photos: Vicki and Barry, Jackie Franklin, Michael Movestro]